Weatherall captained many ships over the years from the banging Sabresonic, through the rock’n’roll Sunday night Double Gone Chapel to the low bpm count of A Love From Outer Space. He also helmed his own French festival Convenanza which, along with ALFOS, will continue his legacy.
Happy Jaxx, 1993-1994
“Tom (Rowlands) and I used to love it and would go most weeks. The music was very hard and seemed very connected to Fat Cat records - Alex Knight used to DJ - good techno music. There would be interesting warm ups like Bob Jones, or there might be dub reggae. Given how heavy the music was it was a very sociable club, there was a real sense of community including a strange combination of things like Bastard Bunny and the whole Lord Sabre thing (he’d also personally handwrite the broadsheets to say which upcoming DJs were playing). We’d get there early and prop up the bar. It was like a grimy box, greasy walls, exposed brick and iron along these series of archways. That part of London in the early-90s was pretty run down. It was quite misty as steam was coming off people. I always remember Terry Farley being there even though it wasn’t really his music. He’d say it was ‘hard but fair’.
“We met Adam Smith and Noah Clark there too (who went on to create the visuals for the Chemical Brothers). I remember seeing Richie Hawtin play who was amazing. But the main event was always Weatherall. Andrew would create incredibly intense moments when he DJed that could stay with the listener for ages. Hearing Koenig Cylinders’ ‘Carousel’ on the sound system at Sabresonic, as the sweat rose from the crowd… I believe there’s a few people dotted around London still trying to take it in. It felt very new and very different to progressive and Italian house and attracted a variety of Fat Cat techno heads, Japanese girls and squat culture clubbers.
“He asked us (The Chemical Brothers, then known as The Dust Brothers) to play live and we didn’t want to be on the stage, so we found a cubby hole above the cloakroom. It was the first live gig we did and Weatherall was very encouraging. I’m sure the sound and light people were annoyed we were at the other end of the room to the DJ but it kind of worked, though not everyone was aware of what was going on. We played the remixes we’d done like the Leftfield and Lionrock ones, ‘Chemical Beats’ and ‘Song To The Siren’. The track that became ‘3 Little Birdies Down Beats’ was recorded at that show. We played for about 25 minutes. That was long enough for The Jesus and Mary Chain, so we felt it was long enough for us.”
“I first met Andrew at Raphael in Windsor, a clothes shop where a young football casual like me would go to buy their Armani jumpers. Andrew would have the desire to dress you, he was fanatical about clothing. I used to follow Gilles Peterson around and was into the jazz scene, but my mates would go out and take E and would bang on about the scene and this DJ Andy Weatherall. I said I knew an Andrew Weatherall that used to sell clothes but didn’t think it could be the same guy. They begged me to go to a Boy’s Own party and I bumped into him straight away and we reconnected. He gave me his number and that was the beginning of a ten-year relationship, which included running the clubs for around five of those years.
"Later, Nina (Walsh) lived in the same house as my girlfriend on Landor Road in Clapham in the early-90s. Andrew had a place in Battersea but we all regularly ended up there. Andrew seemed to store his records in the hallway, it was just full of his records. He joked that he got tired of buying the takeaways and somebody else needed to help pay their way so if we started a club night maybe they could pitch in. He also didn’t have the time or inclination to find a venue, for example, so that’s how I got involved as the promoter. When we stumbled upon Happy Jaxx it had a really brutal, full-on sound system and it suited the purpose we were aiming for. We foolishly started a weekly club which was hard work and we ran Sabresonic for a year. It was very eclectic, whether it was Adrian Sherwood, Leftfield, Richie Hawtin or the Dust Brothers playing live above the toilets. It attracted a crowd of people wide open to these musical possibilities. Everyone left there pretty dishevelled, it was not for the faint-hearted.
"How did it end? The end of everything we ever did was always Andrew who would run out of steam and want to wrap things up. He was always moving forwards. I can’t remember the genesis of Sabresonic 2 at the EC1 but we did that monthly and we continued with guests like Global Communication. The final night had LTJ Bukem, so it was still eclectic but the music was more pointed. Techno had changed and the atmosphere was different and the environment was different, it was one big room, one sound system and it went longer – until 6am. There’s so much I owe to Andrew, he helped me get my first job in the music industry and running Sabresonic at Happy Jaxx helped me raise the deposit for my first home.”
“I built up a genuine rapport with Weatherall in the store (Fat Cat). I was a raver and he liked my energy. I’d play a set on a Saturday morning to all the kids who had been up all night in the clubs and you’d clear the cash out of their pockets pretty quickly. He just asked me one day if I’d be interested in playing a set at this new night. I thought I’d be on with five other DJs but it was just me and him on the opening night and I ended up playing for three hours. He’d never heard me DJ, it was a leap of faith just based on buying records off me. I became a regular punter at Happy Jaxx, great parties. When that club closed he asked me to be the resident at Sabresonic 2.”
ALEX KNIGHT’S SABRESONIC 10
Terrace - Bassi(n)c
Plastikman - Spastik
Ron Trent - Altered States
Koenig Cylinders - Carousel
Vapourspace - Gravitational Arch of I0
Killing Joke - Requiem (A Floating Leaf Always Reaches the Sea Dub)
Vainqueur - Lyot (Maurizio Mix)
The Dust Brothers - Song To The Siren
Bandulu - Prescence
Paul Weller - Kosmos (Lynch Mob Bonus Beats - Full Version)
The Blue Note, 1996-1997
“I went to Sabresonic as a punter and it would be exciting to see him in the club, he’d even sometimes be on the door. I approached him after giving him a knowing glance, ‘Alright mate’. As the club went on I became a regular and so we’d talk more often. With Sabresonic 2 I’d give him tapes to listen to. I became friends with the journalist Ben Turner who had asked me for a mixtape. He put me in a section of Muzik magazine called Bedroom Bedlam and I mentioned I went to Sabresonic. Andrew was really chuffed I’d mentioned his night and I gave him a tape to check out.
“There was a night I couldn’t go to and Andrew told my mates that he liked the tape. He told me at the last Sabresonic 2 that when he came back with a new night I’d be a resident with him and Alex. I got an invite to the office on Dean Street when they were above a strip place. They told me about Bloodsugar then and that it was going to be at the Blue Note in Shoreditch, an area which was dead at the time. I’d drive up from the suburbs and leave my car somewhere all weekend. It was a family environment and a lot of similar people from Sabresonic came down. It was a lot smaller than EC1 with a small bar upstairs and basement downstairs. You could go on your own but you’d bump into people and see where the night would take you, throw your chips into the air and see where they’d land.
“David Holmes played, Bob Jones, Grand Central boys, Rub A Dub shop boys… the guests always played in the bar which was a respite from the techno. I came out of hip hop really and could hear that Andrew was using the beats on things like his remix of James’ ‘Come Home’ or the early stuff he did with Hugo Nicholson. So at Bloodsugar we’d play things like Mobb Deep and a lot of instrumental hip hop records. I usually warmed up, though it was busy from the get-go and rammed by 11pm. And there was always an after party.”
“Bloodsugar was a refining of the original Sabresonic. Andrew realised you build a residency and audience through the residents and how they play. EC1 was one big dark room and not the best environment for all the records we’d play there. So at Bloodsugar we had the two floors of the Blue Note and in the bar area we could move between the floors to play hip hop, dub and jazz funk. Downstairs was the killer, hot sweaty room which was phenomenal. There was an energy in that club that didn’t exist in the previous two venues because of the continuity of the DJs and sound. We all fed off each other. If Rick had a good night I had to up my game and then Andrew would come on and have to raise the roof. We had a steady clientele who came to all the gigs. The clubs he put his name to were about what he was into at that particular time and those DJs that excited him, rather than the wider scene, which was really refreshing.”
“Sav Remzi was keen to have us at the Blue Note and we took the last Friday night. Bloodsugar was a more groove orientated night after Sabresonic’s more metallic edge. The music started to slow down a bit and Andrew got more into deep house which he’d play downstairs with Alex. It was a hugely enjoyable night, it felt like we knew what we were doing by then and the place was run more professionally. I didn’t have to put any drapes up thankfully. Andrew loved to DJ so would probably have rather DJed all night long, but he embraced booking guests as there was so much exciting talent at the time. We never needed to cram a bill with guests though, he’d much rather programme an overarching mood to the evening. He was so versatile he could adjust to whoever played before him. It ran for a year - or maybe 13 nights - and it got to the point where we felt it was enough and we were always keen to end on a high.”
“I recall being on the dancefloor of the Blue Note for Bloodsugar having fun with friends. Then out of nowhere I was locked in, he was working these tripped-out percussion sounds for ages bringing them in and out of the mix, the room was screaming during this. I asked him what the record was, and he showed me a one-sided orange vinyl dub-plate of Reel Houze’s ‘The Chance’ (DJD’s Dubplate Re-Dub). I tracked it down and Tom and I played this record pretty much every night of The Social at Turnmills for a few years. Just one of so many records and experiences that only he could create.”
RICK HOPKINS’ BLOODSUGAR 10
Primal Scream - Stuka (Two Lone Swordsmen remix)
Underground Resistance - Electronic Warfare (The Machines)
Aaron Carl - Crucified
Deanne Day - The Long First Friday
Global Communications - The Way/The Deep
Nimbus Quartet - Hep Cat Speaketh
Pub - Lick
Carl Craig - The Climax (Basic Channel Reshape)
Robotic Movement - Find Yourself (instrumental dub)
Kenlou - The Bounce
Various venues, 1995-2007
“Haywire was a product of the rhubarb triangle; electro, techno and bass. Quality electronics were guaranteed. The name Haywire came from transmitting, connecting, disrupting. Before the club nights, Haywire began in the early-90s. We built websites for creatives and record labels, building communities, selling records, putting out our own records and booking out DJs. Throwing the odd shindig was a natural progression.
“It was held in various vice dens over the decade. We were seemingly partial to the odd basement, which had to be run by people who felt the love of music. From humble beginnings in a small Leeds basement we swung by Coventry, took in some off-grid locations and our Shoreditch highlights were at the Fortress (that was one hell of crazy time!) then Bridge & Tunnel, T Bar, 93 Feet East and Corsica Studios. We also had a residency at Fabric and The Loft in Barcelona.
“Our regulars were Daz Quayle, Keith Tenniswood, Richard Fearless, Matt Carter, Rick Hopkins, Bass Junkie, Dexorcist, Sherman and we attracted a discerning crowd. There were so many great clubs around at that time, it was a blast for sure. While the music may have been at the edgier end of the spectrum it was a diverse crowd and proved that girls loved machine funk too. Andrew often commented on that. Can I remember any memorable incidents? Blimey, too many, and to quote Mr W: ‘Jah willing, will never be told.’
“But here’s a few: John Peel brought his son along to one of the early ones in Leeds, I think it was after the Peel/Wedding Present interview he did. There was a dustbin full of ‘rockstar soup’ on the dancefloor and let’s just say everyone was in high spirits. Ectomorph blew up their gear before their live show, they still pulled it off though. Another time was when Silicon Scally was playing live at the Fortress, and the place is pumping. Then - in the middle of his set - a girl clambers on stage, crawls over his kit, starts tapping at the touchscreen on his synth, and asks him if she can check her emails.
“Whenever Tokyo Windbag, Radioactive Man, and Andrew were on the same bill was always eventful. For instance, September 2001, Haywire at 93 Feet East, we held a Rotters Golf Club tournament which involved building a putting green outside on the terrace. Suitable attire was donned by all attendees for an early tee off. The judging panel scored on style, swagger and delivery. A raucous affair, but two hours later the winner was presented with the RGC cup and then off into the ‘clubhouse’ with Andrew DJing and Radioactive Man live. And then there was the time we had the full Haywire Coastal Assault Squad loaded on to the bus at Scrutton Street HQ heading for the Dedbeat Weekender. To say things had got out of hand by Commercial Street would be an understatement.
“It was always colourful. We were all set for a cracking Bank Holiday weekend at Jaxx on Crucifix Lane. The venue was a dry hire and we’d pulled out all the stops, no expense spared, with a full-on day loading in sound and tech. The Two Lone Swordsman soundcheck rocked and everyone was hyped. There were queues around the block and the drinks were flowing. Rick Hopkins and Big Vern Burns DJed and Battant played live. Two Lone Swordsmen were due on stage, standing by at 11.30pm. Then there was a power outage throughout London Bridge, taking out the station and all the arches. SE1 plunged into darkness. Despite efforts from the nearby pub to run a genny over the road we had no choice but to wrap it up. Gutted. The crowd were as incredible as ever.
“Why did Haywire come to an end? Like all good things have to. And we all got to go home with a full bag of marbles. Just.”
“Haywire’s main venue in London was the Fortress in Shoreditch but they moved venues quite a lot. The golden years were at Fortress 2. It was like being at a free party. It was pretty lawless, magical, easy vibes, a bit like Berlin. The music was still quite banging but there was a lot more electro and breakbeat. Andrew used to say electro was techno’s older brother. They booked quite a diverse line up, him and Amanda (Burton). It would always end up banging though with people like Cristian Vogel. Andrew was aware it could become a sausage fest so they would try and book women often like Ellen Allien or Battant.
“The crowd was really up for it, whatever Andrew did he had an amazing following. The crew back from the Sabresonic days onwards would come down. He’d have Aphex Twin phoning up for a guest list. We used to all carry-on afterwards, though Andrew would usually go home at the end of the night. We were all a good 10 years younger than him so would carry on ‘til Monday morning. Shoreditch was going nuts back then, we used to go to The Foundry run by Gimpo, the KLF associate, which kind of became the Haywire after party venue for a good few years. We were also offered a regular monthly at Fabric in room two which had a good vibe too with amazing sound so it carried on there for a while.”
AMANDA BURTON'S HAYWIRE TOP 10
Essit Musique - Essit Musique
I-f - Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass
Sloop Dee J - Culture Cruncher [Beach Boys Bootleg]
Jackal & Hyde - Beyond
Basic Units - Explode
TLS - Brootle [Simulant mix]
Decal - Superscum
Keith Tucker - Brace Yourself
The Parallax Corporation - Cocodisco
Anthony Rother - Little Computer People
KEITH TENNISWOOD’S HAYWIRE 10
Anthony Rother - Don’t Stop the Beat
Egyptian Lover - I Need a Freak
Semblance Factor - Autofreak (Selway remix)
Electronome - Een Drumcomputer & Een Synthesizer
Simulant - Access Future Audio
Vitalic - Le Rock 01
Dexter - Intruder
Drexcyia - Wavejumper
Sons of Slough - Toxic Friend
Two Lone Swordsmen - Brootle
Double Gone Chapel
The Griffin, 2004-2007
“Myself, my brother (Richard Fearless) and Andrew had been out somewhere and we ended up coming back to my house. I began playing records and Andrew must have liked what I played. Not long after he called me up to say he was starting a new monthly club and would I like to play? I was flattered and surprised. The Chapel was on a Sunday afternoon once a month at The Griffin pub in Shoreditch. The Griffin was an old Victorian pub with sticky carpets. I was basically the warm-up and would play country, bluegrass and honky tonk. I was technically rubbish. More than once Andrew raised an eyebrow when I turned the music down when a friend came over to chat. Or I’d regularly play the records at the wrong speed as I got more inebriated.
“It’s funny because when I first heard of Andrew in the 90s I lived in a housing co-op in Islington and I never got into electronic music. Everyone in the house went raving to Sabresonic and I was into country music and playing Billy Joe Spears. I felt like a bit of an oddball. So the irony to be asked to play country records with Weatherall 10 years later… I had friends who would’ve given their right arm to do it. Our paths crossed occasionally - my brother is a DJ and has a band Death In Vegas - so I’d bump into Andrew at gigs and clubs.
“The Chapel was such a brilliant night. It was like being on an old fashioned carousel. I’d get there when it was light and things were turning slowly and by the end it just got faster, more raucous and finally you’d spin off into the night. Andrew would arrive at the Griffin looking immaculate having already played at clubs over the weekend in Berlin, or somewhere in Europe. His hair was short, slicked back and he was always impeccably dressed. We’d have a polite chat when he arrived - about books, films, but often about the music as I’d be pulling out records. No matter how obscure the records I played he usually knew them, his knowledge was astounding on all music.
“But I had this cover of ‘It’s All Over Baby Blue’ by Leroy Van Dyke and he’d not heard it. He had people from London to Glasgow looking for it. I got him an original 45 from Beano’s in Croydon, this amazing record shop that was four floors of vinyl with listening booths and a room dedicated to 45s. He’d always turn the volume up when he started playing after me and it would go completely nuts. There wasn’t so much dancing but a lot of staggering about and swaying. There’d be people there who had been up all weekend. He’d usually end playing the Rhythm Of Life by Sammy Davis Jr. and it was like being in a crazy musical, everyone glassy-eyed, grinning and singing along. I used to book the day off work following the Double Gone Chapel.”
“I first met Andrew on a staircase at a house party in Maidenhead in 1988, where we chatted about Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. By then, Andrew was already well established as a DJ. Having befriended me, he took me under his wing. He gave me his phone number and encouraged me to ring him whenever I wanted to be where he was playing. This proved to be the gateway to a euphoric, inspiring cavalcade of unforgettable nights. By the end of 1993, I’d started taking Keith Tenniswood along with me, which led to Andrew employing him as an engineer at Sabresonic.
“After Andrew moved operations from Sabresonic to Keith’s flat on Chiswick High Road, and Sabres of Paradise evolved into Two Lone Swordsman, he relocated to Scrutton Street in Shoreditch and established the Rotters Golf Club studio. By now, I was DJing the backrooms at a lot of Andrew’s events. He clearly saw something in me and gave me the keys to the studio, which I looked after at weekends for him and Keith. His faith meant a lot to me.
“I’d got my hands on a half-decent car and wound up driving Andrew and Keith to shows in Manchester, Leeds and all over. On one memorable occasion, he despatched me to stand in for him in Sheffield, where he’d arranged for a board to be displayed outside exhorting punters to share his faith in me. One Sunday, Amanda Burton told me that he was playing a country and western set at the Double Gone Chapel. I reacted with a mixture of incredulity and curiosity, but showed up in all my hip hop gear to find Fiona Maguire playing this amazing bluegrass music. I got into it straight away and started going monthly. Andrew would play all sorts: rockabilly, garage rock, rock’n’roll, punk, jump blues, a bewildering selection box of delights. The crowd looked so cool too. Within weeks I’d ditched the hip hop gear and grown a quiff and sideburns and was wearing high quality trousers and brogues.
“Andrew played a significant part in dubbing me ‘Big Vern’, so I took to using it whenever he asked me to DJ. I was then asked to play Two Lone Swordsmen’s ‘Double Gone Chapel’ album launch, downstairs at Bagleys. I finally got to share the decks with Andrew, which was a genuinely special experience. When I dropped the Cramps’ ‘Human Fly’ he validated my selection with a hearty growl. After that, I began playing the Griffin regularly where history repeated itself as he charged me with the responsibility of being on standby in case he couldn’t make it back from whichever far flung scene he’d been bombing and was unable to fulfil his sonic obligations.”
Big Vern Burns
FIONA MAGUIRE’S DOUBLE GONE CHAPEL 10
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Nashville Blues
Leroy Van Dyke - It’s All Over Baby Blue
Bobbie Gentry - Fancy
Old & In the Way - Wild Horses
Johnny Cash - South Wind
Dolly Parton - Jolene
Gram Parsons - A Song For You
Hank Williams - Ramblin’ Man
Buck Owens - Rhythm & Booze
Conway Twitty - Make Me Know Your Mine
BIG VERN’S DOUBLE GONE CHAPEL 10 AS PLAYED BY THE REV AJW
Sammy Davis Jr. - Rhythm of Life
Drimble Wedge and the Vegetation - Bedazzled
The Pussycats - I Want Your love
Wynonie Harris - Bloodshot Eyes
Warren Smith - Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache
The Buff Medways - Sally Sensation
Hipbone Slim and the Kneetremblers - Snake Pit
Central School Cafeteria Band - First Rhapsody For Knives, Forks and Spoons
Link Wray and The Raymen - Deuces Wild
Larry and the Bluenotes - Night of the Sadist
The T Bar, 2006-2008
“The name came from a Bill Hicks sketch, but Andrew used to use it as a joke a lot. Someone turning up at the wrong place playing the wrong music: ‘You’re in the wrong meeting.’ Andrew had a lot of one liners: ‘If you’re not on the edge you’re taking up too much space’ was another.
“I’d just moved to London around 2005 and knew Andrew already, both as a hero and because he’d played at my night Kill The DJ at Le Pulp in Paris. At the time Andrew had this rock’n’roll and rockabilly thing going on (Double Gone Chapel) and I was into that too and that’s what he wanted to play as a solid part of the night. The beginning was ‘no dance music.’ It was full-on rockabilly or country or a hybrid. When he came to play at Kill The DJ he said it was so nice not to play for bald males (it was a mixed lesbian club).
“He was a bit bored with where he was at the time, but that’s very Andrew, he was constantly shifting his musical identity without losing any integrity. Andrew rang me up and said he’d loved Le Pulp and that Wrong Meeting was what he wanted to do now. I introduced him to Caroline (Hayes) my agent so there was another change for him in this year. The Haywire punters came to Wrong Meeting as they were following Andrew but I never felt that people were unhappy with the music policy. We didn’t get requests for nosebleed techno.
“It was free to get in at T Bar - it was also promoter and venue booker Derren Smart’s idea to do this night - and it was a Thursday, which started at 7pm, so it was not a super late night. We played together all night with four or five records each which was always the system when I played with Andrew subsequently. It was the tail end of the good era of Shoreditch. There were no Essex city boys. We were playing Link Wray, The Fall, The Cramps early on so city boys wouldn’t hang around anyway. The artwork was fully Andrew’s. I’ve no idea how he had the time to do it, apart from his really strong work ethic. He never faffed about. I’ve still got a print of the artwork. It came to an end when the T Bar closed as there was no more reasons to come into Shoreditch and there was never any question of doing it somewhere else.”
IVAN SMAGGHE’S WRONG MEETING 10
Gene Vincent - Crazy Beat
Link Wray - Switchblade
Shockheaded Peters - I, Blood Brother Be
The Fall - Big New Prinz
Dondolo - Dragon (Shit Robot remix)
Zeus B. Held - Cowboys On The Beach
Two Lone Swordsmen - Wrong Meeting (T-Bar remix)
The Cramps - New Kind Of Kick
Implog - Holland Tunnel Dive
Hello - New York Groove
A Love From Outer Space
“I’d known Andrew since 1989. I’d moved to London to be a booking agent and one of the bands I looked after was the Inspiral Carpets. Jeff Barrett’s office was doing the press so I was in and out of his office and I went in one day and Jeff invited me for lunch with Andrew. In 1993, I started making music and took a tape into his office on Dean Street and he put out one of my records as Flash Faction on Sabres of Paradise. So our relationship went way back.
“Moving on to Shoreditch in the 2000s, I lived on a house on Waterson Street and a lady called Lizzie Walker moved in with us. We had a party, which Andrew came to, and he and Lizzie ended up becoming an item. One day he came round and told me his driver had let him down and could I do him a favour and drive him to Brighton the next night? He got in the car and asked: ‘What are we going to listen to?’ I said I had some mix CDs of music I liked that I’d made for the car. I’d been spending a lot of time on Bill Brewster’s DJ History forum learning about Danielle Baldelli, the cosmic scene and the afro scene. Subsequently I’d been digging out a lot of slower records. A lot of things were things I’d first heard on John Peel that Andrew had been playing in the Balearic days. There was the beginning of a movement of slower music and Andrew had been following it too. So we listened to the CD and Andrew said: ‘We should do something with this, Sean.’
“Nathan Gregory Wilkins became the booker at The Drop, a small room under a pub in Stoke Newington. He offered me a monthly Thursday, so that’s what became A Love From Outer Space, which we did there for a year or so. Our main residency has been in Glasgow at the Berkeley Suite - perverse to be a London DJ and have a residency in Glasgow. We have had lengthy spells in London though at Corsica Studios, Bloc and now Phonox. The manifesto is that we never knowingly exceed 122 bpm and the name came from an AR Kane track, a band we were both fans of. We had a similar musical background which is why it worked.
“In 2011, we did Electric Elephant and that was the catalyst for us becoming more of a touring thing. I always thought he may call to say it’d run its course, but conversely he did enjoy it very much. I think he felt that with his regular gigs he’d been painted into a corner to provide what he called an ‘umpty bumpty’ experience so ALFOS gave him a freedom he relished. We also had a right laugh, the touring world is a lonely one but we could chat shit, read books and so it was less monotonous. The pace of the night also lent itself well to sunnier climes and an older audience so it was serendipitous. When we DJed together we tried one-on, one-off but that’s quite stressful so we settled on four or five tracks each. We never planned anything and often I’d be cueing something up and Andrew would be cueing up the same record. We had a strange synchronicity - the Hinge and Bracket of acid house.
“We had a similar A&R approach. The only thing I remember he didn’t like me playing was a Mark Barrott remix of Tears for Fears’ ‘Heads Over Heels’. We also found loads of pre-meditated ‘wrong speeders’: tech-house records which we played on 33rpm plus 8. The blindfold man on the artwork he found in a book on Charing Cross Road and our friend Logan Fisher spliced it with a Fritz Lang Metropolis logo.
“The week he passed away we had ALFOS in the diary at Phonox. I was so conflicted about whether it was the right thing to still do it but various people close to him suggested I should. In retrospect I found it more cathartic than the funeral as it felt like I had some closure already. But I wanted to do it for people who also wanted some closure. It was a very memorable night, I cried through most of it, but it was a beautiful experience. The community that has grown up around ALFOS is quite a thing. Even if I’d wanted to stop I don’t think people would’ve let me. The number of people who’ve said to me: ‘Sorry for your loss but don’t stop doing this.’
“It would’ve been 10 years this year.”
SEAN JOHNSTON’S A LOVE FROM OUTER SPACE 10
Fantastic Twins - You’ve Got A Twin In The Attic (You Lunatic)
Coyote - Minamoto
Woolfy - Junior’s Throwing Craze (Dr Duncs Remix)
Kevin McKay - Propaganda
Mama - Unmask Me (Ashley Beedle Remix)
Marcus Marr - Pleasure Moon
Amy Douglas - Never Saw It Coming (Crooked Man Remix)
Tricksi - Pill Collins
Tyson - Out Of My Mind (The Swiss Dance Mix)
Pachanga Boys - Leg
“I moved back to France from London in 2009. The town where I live – Carcassonne – has this incredible medieval castle and when I came back here I started promoting some gigs there. I invited Andrew to play the castle a few times, alongside him playing at some festivals in the south of France.
“He fell in love with the castle – he just couldn’t believe this spectacular monument existed. And obviously, Andrew being Andrew, he was very curious about its history. By the second time he came to play he’d read lots of books about the castle, its history and its links to the Cathars, a Gnostic religious group who were very prevalent in the region in medieval times.
“He’d done all this research and when I used to drive him around to festivals we got talking about music and how we envisaged it. It turned out we shared a hero – Billy Childish, for his pure DIY, no compromise approach. Andrew was always mentioning how he wanted gigs to be this transcendent ritual. When he saw the castle he knew it was the perfect place to host a festival that could allow him to create that kind of experience.
“We had to pitch the project to the French government and the local authorities. Thankfully, they were very receptive – probably because Andrew had done exhibitions at the ICA and had an association with Faber & Faber. He had this intellectual image, not just some techno DJ. They recognised we were respectful of the castle’s history.
“The first year – 2013 – it was called the Andrew Weatherall Weekender. We held it in a private bar in the castle, with a 700-800 capacity. It was a great success and the following year we moved to the courtyard which can hold 1,500. Before the second year, Andrew had been doing some more reading and he discovered the Cathar ritual of convenanza (it means you agree with the Cathar faith). He wanted to change the name to Convenanza. He felt connected to the history of the Cathars. He was generous, helpful, benevolent – qualities they imbued. There was an echo there of something transcendent. I think that’s why it worked so well. It was like a puzzle. Lots of things he was enthusiastic about came together. It captured so many of his interests beyond music.
“Eventually, the city council offered us another venue which would have enabled us to increase the capacity – they were thinking about more visitors to the town obviously. But Andrew wasn’t bothered. He didn’t see the point. He was happy with 1,500. He didn’t want sponsors or any commercial involvement. That’s what Andrew enjoyed. We were pure and true to the cause. We didn’t taint it with sponsors. We did exactly what we wanted with the line-up every year – without consideration to what was the popular thing at that time.
“His last set last year was a highlight for obvious reasons. I think he was very pleased with it. He wasn’t someone who dwelled on his performance, but last year it was very emotional and spiritual for some reason.
“We obviously had to cancel this year’s festival, but all things being well, we’ll be back next year – over the weekend of 24-25 September. It should be the same line-up, as signed off by the boss. We’ll see how it goes from there. The only thing is we won’t be able to replace Andrew. He’s irreplaceable. He was such a strong character. Such a strong personality. There is no equivalent.”
Bernie’s Convenanza Inspirational Quote!
“Being an amateur means you’re doing it because that’s what you love, whereas the professional may well be doing it just to pay his mortgage. Amateur doesn’t mean that the results aren’t as good. The amateur should be able to make it better than the professional because it’s a much lighter touch. Generally speaking there are ulterior motives for the professional. For us, the amateurs, it’s nice and clean and clear. It’s important for me to be totally independent: independent means choosing when, what, how you play, and who you play with.”
All interviews by John Burgess, except Convenanza by Jim Butler